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Architecture Commons

53 neighbors want to help communities occupy vacant lots and stores on the Lower East Side.

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miLES is a civic startup, comprised of designers, architects, event producers, social entrepreneurs and real estate professionals committed to activating urban neighborhoods as canvases for pop-up entrepreneurship. We provide entrepreneurs, creatives, brands, and neighbors with accessible space, talent, and tools to realize their visions within physical spaces. Inspired by and started in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, miLES enables the connection between people and spaces across neighborhoods of different cities, near and far. Together we transform underused storefronts to create new ways to work, shop, play and collaborate.

Learn more: www.miles.city

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miLES

Despite the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, there are still over 200 vacant storefronts in the Lower East Side. Rather than wait as landlords sit on these properties, miLES activates these spaces on a short-term basis to lower the entry barrier for creative, entrepreneurial and civic projects, with the potential of converting these into longer-term sustainable uses. This initiative will transform these storefronts in this socially and economically diverse neighborhood into community spaces, temporary homes for emerging projects, and provide economic opportunities for the local neighborhood.

Started as an OpenIDEO challenge realization phase, and with the support of Fourth Arts Block, we began our pilot storefront in April 2013 and received over 100 requests for pop-ups of various uses. We have produced 14 pop-up shops, 20 pop-up classes, two design festivals, and even a pop-up film festival! We have worked with a wide range of clients from cultural institutions like the New Museum to entrepreneurs like Etsy sellers. Since then we have talked to numerous landlords, more and more co-op and smaller landlords are open to what we are proposing by popping up one month at a time and receiving income while they are still waiting for their long term tenants. But we still need more validation and support to recruit more landlords!

Your pledges will help us pay for the rent, insurance, logistics, and the fabrication of the miLES Storefront Transformer and validation for us to talk to more landlords to unlock these underused spaces.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/1...

Thumb0b644e3b4dc004ffabb10e639a05a9ea

Made in the Lower East Side: miLES Storefront Transformer

Transform a vacant storefront this winter into a pop-up neighborhood hub with 7 themes: SHOW, PLAY, LEARN, SHARE, MAKE, SHOP & EAT!

www.kickstarter.com/projects/1...

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Posted Oct 15, 2013
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miLES

miLES just launched our new website and storefront at 75 E 4th Street!

miLES opens storefronts to possibilities by opening underused storefronts to classes, events, co-working, pop-up shops and other short term rentals.

Join the movement to open up storefronts to possibilities! Help spread the word! See more details here: bit.ly/VzPWwf

Thanks for your support neighborhoodlanders :)

-Eric and the miLES team

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Posted Feb 28, 2013
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Architecture Commons

Love it! Looking forward to see how we can use it to engage the public! Thanks Dan!

-Eric

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Posted Aug 14, 2012
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Dan

Love this project Lee-Sean and Eric. We'll reach out to you with our new Questions feature that will launch this month for you to engage the public throughout all stages of MiLES.

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Posted Aug 12, 2012
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Architecture Commons

Hello all, if you would like to participate and know more about our engagement efforts for Made in Lower East Side, check out our August Newsletter! - t.co/F7Dfspdv

We are also applying for some funding to get started with a prototype for a mobile unit to go around stores and vacant sites, would love your support! bit.ly/N03y1T

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Posted Aug 10, 2012
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Brendan

Thanks Lee-Sean, Eric and I met up last week to talk about the project. We'll be keeping an eye on this one...

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Posted Aug 6, 2012
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Architecture Commons

Dan, thanks for the link, we are fascinated and very encouraged by yourSQFT, love to gather resources to see how everyone is tackling this problem from across the board!

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Posted Aug 3, 2012
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Architecture Commons

Brandon, thx for the support! We are building a multi-disciplinary coalition to tackle this complex problem of vacancy. We started with core partners Architecture Commons (Architecture & Urban Planning) , OpenIDEO (Human Centered Design), Fourth Arts Block (Arts and Community) & CityAPI (Technology), and are subsequently joined by an amazing array of partners including TYTHEdesign (Service Design), Listenin Pictures (Video Storytelling), Value Web (Multi-stakeholder Facilitation), Projective Space (Co-working), Lucky Ant (Crowdfunding), Design for America (Student-led design activism) and our academic partners SVA Design for Social Innovation (thx to Lee-sean!) and NYU Wagner through the Capstone program.

In this 12-month pilot, we aim to listen to the diverse stakeholders first and then co-create & prototype solutions together to arrive at sustainable model(s) to utilize vacancy.

We will start engagement in mid/late Aug, LESiders join us by sign up here! madeinles.org

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Posted Aug 3, 2012
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Lee-Sean Huang

Hi Brendan, get in touch with eric.ho@architecturecommons.com, he's one of the co-founders/leaders of the project.

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Posted Aug 3, 2012
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Brendan

Can you tell us a bit more about the coalition that MiLES is building right now, and how Lower East Siders might be able to get involved at this stage?

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Posted Aug 2, 2012
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